Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik


"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully



"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".
Blog
Flickr

Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

New Yorkers Demonstrate in Solidarity With the People of Baltimore

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On Wednesday evening, I heard that there was going to be a rally in support of the people of Baltimore, in Union Square park in New York City. I decided to go over and see what was happening, and found the scene above. For those of you who don't know what happened, a young African-American Baltimore man named Freddie Gray died while in police custody, the latest of several of these tragic events to happen in American cities in recent months. As of now, there are several conflicting reports about what exactly happened. (Read an overview HERE.) There have been protests and riots in Baltimore, resulting in a 10 pm city-wide curfew for the past three nights. The demonstration in Union Square was in support of the people in Baltimore, and also calling for an end to what seems to be an unending storyline of these kinds of incidents.gray_demonstration_2
There were many people holding up signs of all kinds: Freddie Gray Matters! STOP Police Brutality! End the School to Prison Pipeline! Black Lives Matter! and more. The park was getting crowded, and we were penned in by the barricades the police had set up around the park perimeter. They also lined up around the perimeter, watching the proceedings with mostly stoic faces. Different people, such as the woman above, got up on a small platform and spoke passionately about the need for a change. The crowd chanted and yelled out, and moved out across 17th Street to 6th Avenue.   gray_demonstration_4
 People marched along 17th Street, heading west toward 6th Avenue. They were yelling, cheering, and chanting slogans as they walked. Police lined the sides of the street, standing almost at attention.  gray_demonstration_5 
I was in the midst of wall-to-wall people, walking about half-way to Fifth Avenue, when I felt the push. Rows of police with riot helmets were pushing the crowd in the opposite direction, back towards the park. There was some struggle a few feet ahead of me, I couldn't see exactly what was happening but there were people pushing back with their hands up as the police pushed forward. I jumped out of the street, down into a basement cubby entrance to a restaurant, and kept drawing.  There was a loudspeaker giving warning: "This is the New York City Police Department. Please be advised, if you walk on the street or roadway, you may be charged with disorderly conduct and be placed under arrest." Many people cleared the street, but many did not. gray_demonstration_7
Police arrest and carry out protesters from the street.
Pretty soon the police had divided the demonstrators into different areas, some back in the park, others on 17th Street sidewalks, still others further down on 18th Street. They came out in full force, and they cleared the streets and sidewalks, forming a triangle at the northwest end of Union Square.

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Soon the park was quiet again. There was, thankfully, no riot in New York City. But hopefully, the voices calling for change in our society were heard. This problem starts long before a young African-American man and a white police officer exchange eye contact. And this will keep happening, as long as we all continue to look away.
See more drawings on my blog HERE. Posted by Veronica Lawlor.

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